When I was a girl, I knew I was a man because they might send me to Alcatraz and only men went to Alcatraz. Every time we drove to the city I'd see it there, white as a white shark in the shark-rich Bay, the bars like milk-white ribs. I knew I had pushed my parents too far, my inner badness had spread like ink and taken me over, I could not control my terrible thoughts, terrible looks, and they had often said that they would send me there-maybe the very next time I spilled my milk, Ala Cazam, the iron doors would slam, I'd be there where I belonged, a girl-faced man in the prison no one had escaped from. I did not fear the other prisoners, I knew who they were, men like me who had spilled their milk one time too many, not been able to curb their thoughts— what I feared was the horror of the circles: circle of sky around the earth, circle of land around the Bay, circle of water around the island, circle of sharks around the shore, circle of outer walls, inner walls, iron girders, steel bars, circle of my cell around me, and there at the center, the glass of milk AND the guard's eyes upon me as I reached out for it. Sharon Olds